Details for Old Testament Poetry

Quick Info

  • Currently offered by Alphacrucis: Yes
  • Course code: BIB510
  • Credit points: 10


The following courses are prerequisites:

Awards offering Old Testament Poetry

This unit is offered as a part of the following awards:

Unit Content


Upon completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  • Summarise the various forms and uses of poetry in the Old Testament.
  • Analyse poetic techniques used in texts, such as imagery, parallelism and literary devices.
  • Critically analyse selected poetic texts from the Old Testament.
  • Demonstrate critical engagement with both primary and secondary texts.
  • Compare the use of poetic texts in a diversity of contexts in the Old Testament, such as their use in the home and cult as well as their rhetorical use by the prophets.
  • Describe the influence of Ancient Near Eastern poetry in the development of Hebrew poetry.

Assessment Methods

Essay, Exegesis, Exam

Prescribed Text

Alter, R. The Book of Psalms: A Translation with Commentary. Rev Ed. New York: Norton, 2009.

Alter, R. The Art of Biblical Poetry. 2nd Ed. New York: Basic, 2011.

Anderson, B. W. Out of the Depths: the Psalms Speak for us Today, 3rd Revised Edition. Louisville: John Knox Press, 2000.

Berlin, Adele. Dynamics of Biblical Parallelism. Rev. and expanded. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008.

Brueggemann, W.The Prophetic Imagination, 2nd Edition. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2001.

Burnett, J.S. “Forty-Two Songs for Elohim: An Ancient Near East Organising Principle in the Shaping of the Elohistic Psalter.” Journal for the Study of Old Testament 31, no. 1 (2006): 81-101.

Clifford, R. J. Wisdom Literature in Mesopotamia and Israel. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2007.

Fokkelman, J. P. Reading Biblical Poetry. Louisville: John Knox Press, 2001.

Kingsmill, E. The Song of Songs and the Eros of God: A Study in Biblical Intertextuality, Oxford Theological Monographs. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2009.

Lenzi, A. “Proverbs 8:22-31: Three Perspectives On Its Composition.” Journal of Biblical Literature 125, no. 4 (2006): 687-714.

Perdue, L.L. Wisdom Literature: A Theological History. Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press, 2007.

Sternberg, M. The Poetics of Biblical Narrative. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1985.

Tsumura, D.D., ‘Vertical Grammar of Parallelism in Hebrew Poetry’, Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol 128, no. 1 (2009): 167-181.


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